Ole Miss routs A&M, earns rematch with No. 1 South Carolina in SEC semifinals
Published 6:13 pm Friday, March 3, 2023
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Two weeks ago, Ole Miss pushed undefeated and top-ranked South Carolina to overtime before losing.
The Rebels have earned another shot at finishing the job.
Angel Baker scored 23 points, Madison Scott had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists, and No. 4 seed Ole Miss defeated Texas A&M 77-60 in the Southeastern Conference women’s basketball tournament quarterfinals.
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Ole Miss (23-7) will play top-ranked South Carolina on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s semifinal. In the lone meeting this season, Ole Miss led with 1:24 remaining in the fourth quarter before losing in overtime.
“I don’t think they took us for granted. Let’s not let that be the narrative. We really just played well and had a chance to beat them, and their experience kicked in,” Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said of the first game against the Gamecocks. “I got a text from (South Carolina coach Dawn Staley) as soon as our game was over. Obviously there is a respect level with both teams and I expect it to be a great game. One of the things that will be different, I won’t have to convince my team that they can play with them this time. I can just focus on the X’s and O’s.”
South Carolina (30-0) easily defeated Arkansas 93-66 in another quarterfinal earlier Friday.
South Carolina, the defending national champion, has won six of the last eight SEC tournament titles.
“It’s written on our board every day. Like (Baker) said, we respect all, we fear none, so like she said, it’s an honor to play the number one team, but we’re coming in for a fight, and we have a good chance of winning it. We feel that way,” said Ole Miss’ Elauna Eato, who was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range and scored 11 points against Texas A&M.
Texas A&M (9-20), seeded 13th, was the lowest seed ever to reach the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. It only trailed by three points at the end of the first quarter, but gradually fell further and further behind as the game progressed.
The Aggies shot 35 percent and committed 22 turnovers that led to 25 points for Ole Miss.
Janiah Barker led Texas A&M (9-20) with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Sahara Jones and Aaliyah Patty each scored 10 points.
Ole Miss extended its slim lead at the end of the first quarter to 40-29 by halftime. Baker scored 15 of her 23 points in the first half.
The Rebels closed the third quarter with a 10-1 run and led by as many as 26 points in the fourth quarter.
Baker scored 20-plus for the eighth time this season after shooting 10-of-12 from the field to help Ole Miss shoot 51 percent.
Marquesha Davis, coming off a career-high 26-point performance in a regular-season finale, added 14 points.
“The first couple shots went in and then the rim got a little wider. Shout out to my teammates for putting me in positions to be efficient and score the ball,” Baker said.
SEC WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT
Saturday, March 4
3:30 p.m. ESPNU – South Carolina vs. Ole Miss
6 p.m. ESPNU – LSU or Georgia vs. Tennessee or Kentucky
Sunday, March 5
2 p.m. ESPN – Championship game